Jenine Sahadi -- Against the Odds

The following is excerpted from Women in Racing: In Their Own Words. Published September 2001 by Eclipse Press.

After I won back-to-back Breeders' Cup Sprints, virtually nothing happened with my career. In fact, it went so quiet, it was a complete lull. I mean, I didn't have any horses of real consequence.

There's no way that we can rationalize why it happens, because we (women) think we do a good job. We try to do right by the horses. Women do have to work harder. We are always going to be a little bit more controversial. In my case, for the most part, it's always been a first: first Breeders' Cup, first Santa Anita Derby. If you're a woman and competing with men at any sort of level, it's always going to be a first. It's always going to be semi-historical because there isn't any history with women.

There's probably four female trainers here in southern California compared to about 500 men. The numbers would be the same nationwide. It is so much b.s. We talked about this at that University of Arizona symposium (in December 2000). The numbers are completely uneven. And for the most part, women are not given the same quality of stock that men are. If you are given good stock, it's probably because of one main client that you have spent five or six years nurturing and trying to maintain a relationship with. Or it's family money, or your own money, that kind of thing. The thing is, it's just too unfair. No matter what I do, I'm not going to be able to change the perception of those people who feel that woman are not capable of training horses.

And if women are going to try to do this, they better be very careful about how they start. You better not start off with two $10,000 claiming horses because no one's going to pay you any attention. If you're going to try to take this on -- and this is what I tell young girls -- start doing it with some ammo. You need to have a plan of attack. You need to have owners who are committed to you, people to fall back on. There are too many women who have said, "I'm going to claim two horses and make a splash." But no one gives a s**t. The only thing that people care about are horses that are winning big races and competing at very high levels.

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